Becoming Politically Re-engaged


 This is an original poster from the miners’ strike in the UK in the Eighties. Growing up in a working class area of Scotland through the eighties, seeing what Margaret Thatcher did to my country : the miners in my town, poll tax, nuclear power stations nearby to name but a few, I became very politically aware though my teenage years and took part in marches for CND, university marches when grants and funding were cut and more. I, like many around me, had strong opinions on everything! “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie! Out, out, out!”, was our favourite chant, as we  waved our banners and looked forward to catching up later in the student union.

Fast forward several decades and here I am, a middle class mammy in NSW, Australia. I watch politics from the sidelines and don’t feel especially engaged. I occasionally shake my fist at the television screen and my children roll their eyes as they sit through yet another doco on the ABC. The recent Independance movement in Scotland ignited my interest and rekindled those feelings somewhat but living on the other side of the world removed me from the real passion felt by my family there.

Recently however, I felt a spark and went with it. When my son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, I never imagined that this would re-engage me politically. The fight to get pump consumables on the PBS was before my son’s diagnosis, and I salute those who worked hard for this to be put in place, but we have come in at a time when a  push is on to have CGMs PBS listed (for those outside Australia, this means having the Continuous Glocose Monitor subsidised to make it more accessible). I wrote emails to two local MPs. Read it Here.

Both members sent letters on my behalf to the Health Minister Sussan Ley and received replies which they then forwarded on to me. I received a phonecall from the assistant of one member, asking me more about my son and why I had written. This was such a positive experience.

The second member has been fantastic. I am in his electorate, as is my son’s school. He emailed me on several occasions and followed up when I corrected some of the information in one of the emails. I took a chance as I felt, in these emails, that I was communicating with a real person, no spin, just honesty. I told this member that in our local area , which is in his electorate, there is an amazing diabetes clinic which helps those old and young, with all types of diabetes.

This wonderful group of people, and in particular, our diabetes educator, go above and beyond their duties. They always are there for all those in their care and encourage us to contact them for advice and seek help with areas such as adjusting insulin levels. They treat our son so well. He is the focus of what they suggest and his feelings and opinions are always sought. I suggested that the local member should go and visit them and thank them on behalf of those they help, day in day out. He asked me for the phone number and names of those who worked there.

Imagine my surprise today, when he emailed me to tell me he had taken in some morning tea, caught up with those who were at the clinic and thanked them for their work. It may not seem like much, but that gesture for me made everything worthwhile!


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